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Sheriff Must Help Deaf & Blind Arrestees

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - The Alameda County Sheriff's Office will provide sign language interpreters and other services at two jails to deaf, hard of hearing or blind arrestees, victims, witnesses and visitors, under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The agreement comes after the sheriff's office failed to provide a deaf and blind arrestee with an interpreter.

The deaf and blind man who filed a complaint against the Alameda County Sheriff's Office said he was not given a tactile interpreter was jailed for two days without an interpreter to communicate for him.

The Justice Department said the agreement requires the sheriff's office to provide sign language interpreters, post a notice of the policy in its waiting rooms and train staff about the policy.

The sheriff's office is required under the Americans with Disabilities Act to make sure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing are ensured communication and the same services as other arrestees and witnesses.

The agreement covers Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, Calif. and Glynn E. Dyer Jail in Oakland.

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